Yeshua is RISEN!
Most of the world is commemorating His resurrection at the rising of the sun, on ‘sun-day’, but Yeshua arose RIGHT AFTER the Sabbath ended, at the beginning of the BIBLICAL “first day” of the week, ie, SATURDAY NIGHT.
That time is called in Israel, “Motza’ei Shabbat”, the ‘departure of the Sabbath’, and those words are used even in the greek texts of the NT to tell us when Yeshua arose.
There is a ceremony that has been held EVERY WEEK for THOUSANDS of years among Jews, called “Havdalah”. It is held approximately one hour AFTER sundown on Saturday evening, and it marks the “Motza’ei Shabbat,’ and officially begins the new week.
All of the verses that tell us of the ‘timing’ of Yeshua’s resurrection do not actually say the timing of the resurrection, but of the arrival of the women at the tomb. When they got there, it was ALREADY empty. But, even the timing of this is way earlier than dawn or sunrise. They likely went out there just after their Havdalah observance, when Shabbat has ended and we are released to our work. Traditionally, we start our week with ‘good deeds’. To these women, this was probably one of the most important things they could be doing ‘at the beginning of the week’, just after the Havdalah has marked the end of Shabbat and the start of the week. By the time they got there, Yeshua had already been out of the grave for some time! Here are each of the accounts:
Yokhanan Markos 16:9 :: “Now He rose early at the start of the week…..“
Luka 24: 1 :: And at the beginning of the week, before dawn, while it was still dark, they came to the tomb and brought the spices which they had prepared; and there were with them other women. 2And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb.
Yokhanan 20:1 :: At the beginning of the week, very early while it was still dark, Miryam of Magdala came to the tomb; and she saw that the stone was removed from the tomb.
Matti 28:1 :: In the evening of the Shabbat, when the first of the week began, there came Miryam of Magdala and the other Miryam, to see the tomb.
None of these give us the actual moment of His rising from the dead, but an account of what happened AFTER He had risen from the dead. Luka [Luke] may not have been as close to this as were Yokhanan and Matti, and it seems their accounts get a little more precise, and more early, especially Matti’s. Yokhanan Markos’ [Mark] is pretty ‘dead on’ in saying when He arose, however. But, if one has walked under the light of Messianic Judaism for any length of time, one knows how every ancient ceremony of Judaism points to Yeshua in some way, and how very related to the death, burial and resurrection the Pesakh [Passover] season is, and how critical the timing of biblical days is to the mindset of “peshat” study of scripture, seeking out the plain meaning of the text. Cultural context clears up many questions.
The Havdalah ceremony is brief, and happens in the home, just as the Sabbath starts in the home with the Erev Shabbat ‘mini-pesakh’ meal every week. The ceremony begins after a special candle has been lit on Shabbat. This candle is one unit, with three wicks, and is called “Lapid”. In Ma’asei HaShlikhim [Acts] 20, we see these candles burning:
“7And at the beginning of the week, [Sat night] when we assembled to break bread, Pavlos declared to them, and because he was going to leave the next day, he prolonged his speech until midnight. 8Now there was a great glow of light from the lapidot in the upper chamber where we were gathered together. “
Once the ceremonial lapid is lit, a blessing is said to consecrate the ceremony and the ‘light of the fire’. We sing the blessings in Hebrew, because they are more easily memorized that way, and it is a form of praise.
But by this time, 1990 years ago, Yeshua had been in the grave since Wed evening; the three days and three nights of time in the grave are over. The Sabbath is almost departed.
There are two other elements of the Havdalah ceremony. A glass of wine, and a container of spices. The wine is blessed as in every other ceremony involving wine, such as the ‘third cup,’ the ‘cup after supper’ that Yeshua blessed on Tue night at His last Pesakh Seder, when He renewed and ratified the covenant with Israel, as was prophesied by Jeremiah [31:31-34]. We hold up a full cup of wine, a symbol of the Joy of יהוה , and bless the creator for creating the “Fruit of the Vine”, and then we partake of the ‘sweet joy’ of the Sabbath.
We then hold up the spices and bless them in similar fashion. The spices are then drawn to the nose by everyone, enjoying the aroma of the mixture of spices. This is symbolic of all the nations being ‘mixed together’ as a sweet aroma to יהוה . Our prayers are described as a sweet aroma, as ‘incense’. This, then, is an expression of our hope and trust that He hears our prayers. After the ceremony ends, the first thing we do is pray and petition Him for the needs of others. Here we are expressing our trust in that hope. Further, Yeshua was wearing the spiced perfume that was applied to him before He suffered. The women were bringing spices with which to anoint Him again! [see Mark citation below].
After the spices are enjoyed by all, the wine is poured out, diminishing our ‘joy’ just a bit, as the departing of the Sabbath is bittersweet. We have assembled at His appointed time, a time HE said He would meet with us. Yeshua is “Adon of the Shabbat”, the ‘master of the sabbath,’ and our intimate time with Him is almost over. We pour out some of the joy, and extinguish the light of the Sabbath in that joy. Yeshua’s death is likewise bittersweet to us.
The light of the fire ‘sparks’ and tries to remain, but eventually succumbs to the wine. This is symbolic of ‘the joy that was set before Him’. Yeshua died knowing He would rise from the dead. At this moment, Shabbat has ended. At THIS moment, Yeshua rose from the dead! This is the very beginning of the first day of the week, and in scripture, the ‘first day’ began with Elohim [God] saying “Yehi Or”, “LET THERE BE LIGHT”. Creation was not witnessed by any man. Likewise, the resurrection was not witnessed by anyone! It happened in darkness. It had to be proven to the Talmidim! The Body of Yeshua is the PROOF of the resurrection; no one caught it on film, and no one saw it happen. But hundreds of people later SAW His resurrected body, people who had witnessed His dead body, torn open and drained of its blood, put in a ‘kever’, a tomb.
We then partake of and drink the rest of the wine, which was blessed on Shabbat, the last day of Yeshua being in the grave. His blood had been shed for us. The wine symbolizes His blood. And it is symbolic of the Joy of יהוה . We enter into the week with His joy, carried over from Shabbat. It was some time AFTER this that the women came to the tomb, and “they went away hurriedly from the tomb with fear and with great joy…“
On this day, at this time of year after Passover, last night for us, we also begin the counting of the Omer, with the “First Omer”, which is the beginning of the season of Bikkurim, or “Firstfruits”. Most Jews actually begin the counting rotationally on the day after their High Sabbath, which they also have wrong. They consider the “High Sabbath” to be the 15th day of the first month, having started on the night of the 15th [biblical days start at night]. We do not, and neither did Yeshua. Yeshua observed His Pesakh Seder a day BEFORE the P’rushim [Pharisees], along with much of Israel. At that time, the P’rushim were vying for control of Judaism, and were beginning to exert their authority over G-d, and had MOVED the Pesakh. But Yeshua observed it on the 14th evening after the new moon. They were hurrying trying to get Yeshua down off the tree before THEIR observance, the 15th evening, beginning their high sabbath on that Wed night, which would end on Thur night. After THAT ‘sabbath’ had ended, it was friday, and THIS is when the ladies went and bought spices, which they would not have been able to do on thur OR sat! And if Yeshua had been put in the grave on fri night, they CERTAINLY would not have been able to BUY spices in Jerusalem after the sabbath on Sat night to be at the tomb VERY EARLY on sun morning!
Yokhanan Markos 16:1 :: “And when Shabbat [High Sabbath of the P’rushim] had ended, Miryam of Magdala and Miryam the mother of Ya’akov and Salome bought spices, that they might come and anoint Him.
This is key! It FIXES the day of Yeshua’s execution to have been long before the weekly Sabbath that started on friday night! The customary timeframe most follow, Jews AND christians, would rob these ladies of their opportunity to buy spices. So, the Jewish people today STILL erroneously keep Pesakh on the 15th, and begin to count the Omer on the 16th. We do NOT! Yeshua is our “Bikkurim,” our ‘first fruits’, and He did not rise until the ACTUAL WEEKLY SABBATH was over! And this is what VaYikra [Lev] says is the timing of the ‘first omer’:
“[you] shall reap the harvest thereof, then you shall bring the Omer Reishit of your harvest unto the kohen. 11And he shall wave the omer before יהוה , to be accepted for you; on the morrow after the Shabbat the kohen shall wave it.” …. 15And you shall count unto you from the morrow after The Shabbat, from the day that you brought the omer of the waving; seven Sabbaths shall there be complete; 16even unto the morrow after the seventh Shabbat shall you number fifty days… ” [VaYikra/Lev 23]
No ‘high sabbath’ is EVER called “HaShabbat” in the Torah! THE Sabbath. So we ‘count’ the first day of the Omer on Sat night, after the weekly regular Sabbath that falls after Pesakh. Using this, we can easily see that the Jews were wrong, and that Yeshua is indeed our “First Omer”.
So, after we closed out the Sabbath, we began to count the Omer last night, saying, ‘today is Day 1 of the Omer.’ the ‘fifty’ days and ‘seven’ weeks will be counted. This was going on while Yeshua was meeting with His Talmidim and giving them final instructions. On day 43, He ascended into Heaven before their eyes. On day 50, after all seven sabbaths from Pesakh had been counted, He sent them the “Ru’akh HaKodesh,” [holy spirit], the power they would need to declare His Truth to the world.
We do this every year. But, this year was special, because this year the biblical calendar was in lock-step with the year Yeshua suffered, died, and rose from the dead, becoming our “First Omer”. That morning, when the ladies finally found Him WHILE IT WAS STILL DARK, He would NOT let them touch Him, saying, “I have not yet ascended to my Father.” This is the words of the Kohen Gadol [High Priest] before the offerings are made; no one is to touch him and defile the offering. That same EVENING, Yeshua told His Talmidim, ‘TOUCH ME, and SEE that I am FLESH AND BONE JUST AS YOU ARE”…. Why was it now okay for Him to be touched? Because He had, during the day, ascended, and presented Himself as our ‘FIRST OMER,’ our waive-sheaf offering, the Firstfruits from among the dead!
Our Father cares very deeply about the timing of these things. We care that you see that HE is utterly Jewish, and worked within the framework of the customs of Israel! Even though some of their leaders were already in error. The REMNANT of the truly righteous ‘saw’ these things, and rejoiced in their fulfillment, still keeping these feasts as Messianic Jews [ 1 Cor 5:7-8, Acts 20:7 ].